Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder in international humanitarian aid workers: Study protocol

Ivo Kunovski, Tara Donker, Ellen Driessen, Pim Cuijpers, Gerhard Andersson, Marit Sijbrandij*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Humanitarian aid workers are likely to be exposed or witness complex emergencies. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most widespread and most commonly studied mental health problems after exposure to adversities and trauma. However, face-to-face treatment has limited utilization in the resource-constrained settings where humanitarian aid workers often operate. Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) is a treatment option with the potential to improve the access to evidence-based care for humanitarian aid workers. Until now, only a few studies have evaluated iCBT in the treatment of PTSD. No studies have yet explored the feasibility of iCBT for humanitarian aid workers with PTSD. The aim of this study is to investigate the participants' experiences and progress with the treatment, in order to determine whether TELLUS is acceptable for humanitarian aid workers. Methods and design A pilot feasibility study will be conducted with 20 humanitarian aid workers with a full or subclinical PTSD diagnosis according to DSM-IV criteria. The intervention used is TELLUS, which is a therapist-assisted Internet-delivered treatment program based on trauma-focused CBT components for individuals with PTSD. It contains eight text-based modules, where each module is expected to be completed within one week. Discussion This study may set the ground for a large-scale randomized control trial that would test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the program. The study may contribute to the better understanding of PTSD treatment and increase the availability of evidence-based treatments in resource-constrained settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalInternet Interventions
Early online date20 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • CBT
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Humanitarian aid workers
  • Internet
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • PTSD


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